updated - October 16, 2021 Saturday EDT
You have exactly one week until the big day. The grand opening of your business is all you can think about. It is all you have thought about for the past year. Your excitement is understandable and well-earned. It is almost time to flip the sign from closed to open. You might want to make a reminder to buy one of those signs that flip from closed to open. That is just one of the little things that you are going to forget to have in place before day one.
No matter how much money you spend at the office supply store, you are always going to forget something major. The reason is that this is all new to you. Your only contact with what you are about to encounter is theoretical. Starting a new business is like nothing else. There is no amount of prior experience that will prepare you for the reality of working for yourself and suddenly being responsible for everything. The good news is that no matter how badly things go the first day, there is always time to bounce back. But if you get started without the following, bouncing back is going to be a lot tougher than it needs to be:
A Shipping Plan
If your business will depend on sending physical objects to physical addresses, you need a shipping plan. Unless you have a lot of experience with logistics, you are going to need some outside help. Shipping consulting partners can help you with contract negotiations for all your shipping needs. Don't just assume you are going to get the best rate automatically. You should also understand the territory. You are not a consumer anymore. You are a business. Stop looking at the price list for consumers. You have to think bigger.
While you're at it, consider the packaging. Are you going to use whatever off the shelf solution you find? Or will you take the opportunity to do something more environmentally friendly? Don't forget about packaging that is easy to open. You shouldn't need power tools or bandaids for your cut fingers to get into a package. One of the things that stifles enthusiasm for a product is receiving it in a package you can't easily open. Don't let these considerations wait for the second revision. Take care of these concerns well before opening day.
Social Media Marketing
You should already have your social media strategy worked out. If you don't, delay your opening until you do. It is that important. Social media marketing errors are among the biggest mistakes you can make when opening your business. 20 years ago, social media wasn't even a thing. Now, you can't expect to be successful without it. If you want your business to get a first-day bump, you are going to have to have a social media strategy long before you open.
If you do not have a strategy up front, you might not realize sentiment has turned against you until it is too late. Savvy businesses are using social media for customer service. The moment someone complains on Twitter, smart companies are on top of it with help. Businesses had to learn how to play the social media game. They were lousy at it in the beginning. This is far from the beginning. You don't have a ramp up period to figure it out. You have to get it sorted before you get started.
Sure, you already have a website ready to go. That is a very important thing. But have you checked that website on one of those 5.5" smartphones? Your users will have those phones. And they will be using them to access your site. If it is not suitable for a smartphone, it doesn't really exist. You have to step away from that 24" monitor on your desk and start testing your website against smartphone screens. That is not only where people are going for information, it is where the entire transaction is done. Make sure opening day includes your smartphone strategy.
No matter how well you plan, you are going to miss a few things for opening day. Give yourself the best chance to succeed by having a shipping strategy, a social media marketing plan, and a mobile website.
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